Johann Heinrich Schmelzer’s Sonatae Unarum Fidium: Features of the Style and Performance Interpretation


On the material of Johann Heinrich Schmelzer’s collection Sonatae Unarum Fidium this pa­per identifies specific features of the Viennese sonatas for violin and basso continuo in the middle of the 17th century: melodic exposition in homophonic harmonic structure, motiv- ic variation, increased interaction between soloist and continuo, retreat from the “free rec­itative” style, high level of virtuosity, and diversity of techniques. These features allow us to see the Viennese examples of the genre as a special branch of early Baroque violin sona­ta (the existence of which has yet passed unobserved both by musicologists and by musical practitioners). In connection with this the author offers a new approach to the interpreta­tion of Sonatae Unarum Fidium, underlining the stylistic originality of Schmelzer’s collec­tion. “Universal” rules of interpretation of Baroque music regarding tempo, articulation, use of embellishments and ornamentation should be adapted to performing traditions that were formed in Vienna and to the particularity of the sonatas under consideration.